Over 100 tornadoes touched down Saturday in the Great Plains, causing millions of dollars in damage across Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa. Despite the wreckage, there were few fatalities, a result perhaps due in part to the National Weather Service's warnings. Russell Schneider of the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., offers his insight.
In Philadelphia, a warehouse fire this past week killed two firefighters and left neighbors angry because the building was abandoned. The city faces the same challenges as many others across the country - it has too many big old and unused buildings. From member station WHYY in Philadelphia, Elizabeth Fiedler reports on the threat posed by vacant buildings.
ELIZABETH FIEDLER, BYLINE: John Mahoney walks his dog near the site of the fire. He wasn't surprised by what happened.
Staying overseas, and to Egypt now, where election officials have stunned voters by banning three of the top contenders running in the country's upcoming presidential elections. Those candidates include Omar Suleiman, the vice president under Hosni Mubarak, the other two, a powerful leader from the Muslim Brotherhood and an ultra-conservative Islamist cleric.
And if you're just joining us, you're listening to WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
In Afghanistan today, the Taliban has launched a string of attacks across the country, including coordinated strikes in the capital, Kabul, that hit near western targets and Afghan government buildings. The Taliban says today's attack marks the beginning of what they call the spring fighting season, the period after the winter thaw when mountain passes and roads become accessible again.
From NPR News, it's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.
Our cover story today: the GOP's gender gap. We'll get to that in a few moments, but first to the severe weather in much of the Great Plains. The National Weather Service is warning that today's outbreak of tornadoes could be a, quote, "high-end, life-threatening event." Several confirmed tornadoes have already touched down across Kansas and Oklahoma, and more are expected in Nebraska and Iowa.
It's WEEKENDS on ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: It's simple. If you make more than $1 million every year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
RAZ: President Obama from his weekly Saturday video address talking taxes and his proposal for a millionaire's tax, the so-called Buffett Rule. James Fallows of The Atlantic is with me now for more on this story and others we're following. Hello, Jim.
Originally published on Tue January 29, 2013 5:55 pm
One doesn't necessarily associate spring travel with heavy reading. For one, books are bulky luggage, the weighty enemies of economical packers; even an e-reader takes up precious space in one's overflowing duffel. And two, escapist migration to mountaintops or flowery fields or seaside locales for sun worship and meditative communion with nature connotes a markedly book-free environment, an escape from the office or the solemn halls of academe.
In 2009, jazz pianist Alfredo Rodriguez showed up in Laredo, Texas, with only a suitcase, some sheet music and one aim: to collaborate with Quincy Jones. A Cuban seeking amnesty in the U.S., Rodriguez ended up arrested by Mexican border officials. He says they questioned him for hours and demanded money.
When M. Night Shyamalan's fantasy film The Last Airbender — panned by both critics and fans of the wildly popular TV series on which it was based — flopped majestically at the box office, it looked like the end of a valuable franchise.
But now, with The Legend of Korra, which premieres Saturday on Nickelodeon, the creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender have been given a rare chance to rebuild a world that was taken away from them.
Imagine an era when mainstream music wasn't filled with synthesizers. When electronic music wasn't a force propelling everything from pop and hip-hop to music from the underground. There was a time when this world existed. Then Kraftwerk emerged, and the world we knew changed.
At the start of a bright, sunny day that seems otherwise like any other day, a popular teacher is found dead in her classroom. It was suicide.
The school is traumatized, especially that teacher's students. By the next day, the principal is at her wits' end trying to find someone willing to take the class. So when Bachir Lazhar (Mohamed Fellag) offers to teach, it comes at just the right moment.
One of the sharpest dividing lines emerging between President Obama and GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney is the budget introduced in Congress by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., with its sharp cuts in domestic spending and lower tax rates.
Both sides see it as a winning issue for the fall campaign. The Obama campaign likes to call it the "Romney-Ryan budget" — and Romney hasn't objected.
On the campaign trail in Wisconsin, Ryan was a constant presence with Romney before that state's April 3 Republican primary, which Romney won.
It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Audie Cornish.
ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:
And I'm Robert Siegel.
In Sanford, Florida, there's been a new development in the Trayvon Martin shooting case. Late today, attorneys for the admitted shooter, George Zimmerman, said they are no longer representing him. Attorney Craig Sonner says they haven't spoken to Zimmerman since Sunday.
Abdulhadi al-Khawaja is a human rights activist from Bahrain who's in prison there and has been on hunger strike for eight weeks. After taking part in last year's demonstrations urging a dialogue between Bahrain's Sunni Muslim ruling family and the country's Shiite majority, al-Khawaja was arrested. Last spring, he was charged with organizing and managing a terrorist organization.
It's never been easy to make a living as a musician. But there was always a dream: to become a star on the strength of your talent and your music. The Internet is a rude sandman, however, and today that dream is a lot more convoluted.
No longer can a would-be rock star follow the once-accepted checklist: (1) sign with a big label, (2) get a hit, (3) buy mansions and cars. The number of ways a musician can make money is now varied. The question, for many musicians still trying to make a go of it in the industry, is whether those many sources can add up to something sustainable.
During the course of his career, singer-songwriter Adam Cohen says he has twisted himself into creating commercially successful music — but not this record, not this song. "What Other Guy," from his third album Like A Man, didn't seem likely to generate mainstream popularity. And yet it did, more than any other song he has ever recorded.
The son of iconic singer Leonard Cohen, Adam Cohen says his latest record is a celebration and demonstration of his father's influence on his music.
Idan Raichel is one of Israel's top-selling pop musicians. Vieux Farka Toure is a virtuoso guitarist from Mali. The two met by chance in a German airport, and when Toure played a concert in Tel Aviv, Raichel sat in. He enjoyed himself so much that he invited Toure and two other musicians to come to a studio the next day and jam. The music they created is now an album called The Tel Aviv Session.
Lena Dunham's new series Girls debuts on HBO on April 15. Dunham, who got quite a bit of attention for being the star, director and writer of the 2010 indie film Tiny Furniture, fills the same three roles in this ensemble show about four young women in New York.
There are plenty of pop culture references to the dangers of a close mother-son relationship. From the myth of Oedipus to the movie Psycho, narrative after narrative harps on the idea that mothers can damage their sons, make them weak, awkward and dependent.
But for millions of men, the opposite has turned out to be true, author Kate Lombardi tells NPR's Laura Sullivan. Lombardi — a mother herself — is the author of the new book, The Mama's Boy Myth: Why Keeping Our Sons Close Makes Them Stronger.